indicatorThe Owl

Retail therapy

Alberta consumers didn't hold back in 2021

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 18 February 2022 1 min read

Pandemic or no pandemic, retail sales in Alberta posted strong numbers last year.

With the final month of data now in hand, we can confirm that total sales were 13.1% higher in 2021 than in 2020 and 10.0% above their 2019 level.

Annual sales were higher compared to 2020 across all major retail categories except food and beverage stores which saw sales contract by 2.4%.

This doesn’t mean every retailer is flush with cash as higher operating costs, COVID-related disruptions and a range of other factors that manifest themselves differently across specific stores and geographic locations can cut deep into margins. With that said, the overall reading from the numbers is positive.

Annual retail sales were also strong nationally, rising by 11.6% compared to 2020 and by 9.7% versus 2019. Sales increased in every province.

Adjusted for inflation, sales in Alberta in 2021 finally passed their previous peak in 2014 by 0.6%.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, “the first large-scale production of automobiles in Canada began in 1904 in Walkerville, now part of Windsor, Ontario.”

Today’s trivia question: When was the cash register invented?

Annual retail sales in Alberta were 13.1% higher in 2021 than in 2020

Annual retail sales in Alberta were 13.1% higher in 2021 than in 2020

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